Movie: AFTER THE WEDDING
Rating: PG-13, thematic material and some strong language
Release Date: 8-9-19
Jeanne: AFTER THE WEDDING, writer/director Bart Freundlich’s adaptation of Susanne Bier’s Oscar-nominated film of the same title from 2006, is a huge disappointment. Starring Freundlich’s very accomplished wife, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and Billy Crudup, such an all-star cast makes the outcome even more unsatisfying.
After escaping New York City some 20 years earlier, Isabel (Williams) runs an orphanage in Calcutta with a colleague, Preena (Anjula Bedi). Just about out of money, Preena receives notice from a possible major donor. The catch is that Isabel must travel to NYC to meet her, and then get the funds.
Loathe to leave seven-year-old Jai (Vir Pachisia), with whom Isabel has formed a motherly bond, she knows it is imperative for the facility to be sustained, so she relents and goes. Upon her arrival, Isabel is whisked to a luxurious boutiq ue hotel in Manhattan by Jonathan (Alex Esola), who works for Teresa Young (Moore), the media mogul who could be the orphanage’s new benefactor.
Not only does Jonathan work for Teresa, but he is also engaged to her 21-year-old daughter, Grace (Abby Quinn), and their wedding is in a few days. Teresa insists that Isabel remain in New York for the festivities being held at the Oyster Bay estate she shares with her husband, Oliver (Crudup), Grace and her eight-year-old twins, Theo and Otto. Feeling like she can’t refuse or risk losing the money, Isabel acquiesces, thus beginning a chain of events that will change everyone’s lives.
Not having seen Bier’s much-lauded film, I cannot compare this AFTER THE WEDDING to the original --- and movies should stand on their own, anyway. That said, I found Freundlich’s script implausible, contrived and disjointed. Additionally, several of the scenes which are meant to be dramatic turn out to be melodramatic.
One of those that struck me as completely ludicrous is Grace’s reaction to certain distressing news. In one instance, she’s lamenting the turn of events regarding her childhood, in the next she’s assailing someone else for her misfortune. She takes no responsibility for any of her circumstances, including the untimely demise of her very recent marriage.
Grace, and Quinn who portrays her, are the biggest issues in AFTER THE WEDDING. There are no redeeming qualities in Grace’s character. She is a spoiled brat, though we are supposed to accept and swallow her distastefulness. Not helping is Quinn’s performance. She’s miscast --- and unfortunately her acting doesn’t stand up to the rest of the cast. Even the twins played by Trey Ryder and Azhy Robertson are better than she.
Moore, Williams and Crudup are all acceptable with what they’re given, though Moore does overact in a few sequences. But that is the fault of her husband. And don’t even get me started on Teresa’s treatment of her assistant, Gwen (Susan Blackwell). Please --- just once --- can we NOT have the stereotypical bitchy female boss? Seriously, I don’t care what is going on in someone’s life. Can we STOP portraying high-powered women as maniacs? This alone makes AFTER THE WEDDING unwatchable.
Opinion: DON’T BOTHER!